For whatever reason you thought you came here, I can assure you it was not your idea ... nor was it mine. Personally, I sit here shaking my head in wonder at the lengths God will go to in order to get someone’s attention. If you happened to have opened this page looking for confessions of something horrid running through my mind, you’re not going to find them. I actually wrote the original article last year, but never quite completed it. I just saved it, incomplete, and ran across it today while searching for something else. Ah, but God’s timing is perfect!
“So,” you might ask, “what exactly are these dirty thoughts then?” Not only will God go to great and oftentimes surprising lengths to get our attention, but the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, will use a great range of things, from something as extraordinary as a rainbow to the simplicity of a tiny wildflower just to teach us. He’ll even use a dumb donkey’s tongue to wake us up. As for these wonderful dirty thoughts, they came to me via (or should I say “blew in with”?) none other than a storm, a dust storm.
I pray for those whose lives were negatively affected by the severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and high winds that most of the southern half of the western United States suffered last year. Here, in north central Texas, we didn’t get any major thunderstorms until this year. In fact, we were in our second year of devastating drought last year. But we did get some extremely strong winds one day last autumn. Those high winds were so massive that we experienced an anomaly. Add black Texas soil that is fine from severe drought to such high winds and you get a major dust storm.
Having spent six months of my childhood in the desert, in Coolidge Arizona, I recall playing in the yard when a sandstorm blew through. It was so bad that I had to squint my eyes and run indoors, barely able to see inches in front of my face. Those stinging grains of sand were like a million needles all hitting me at once. Then, within only minutes, it seemed all the earth and everything in it was covered in a thick layer of yellow sand.
My mother speaks of a similar incident when she lived in far west Texas with it’s red soil. She had white clothes hanging on the clothesline. A sandstorm blew through and my older sister’s cloth diapers wound up pink. So did my father’s once-white tee shirts. She tried bleaching them. She even let them soak in bleach. But they remained pink.
Ever tried to drive in blinding rain so bad that you can scarcely see in front of your face? My niece e-mailed a picture to me while she was aboard the USS Boxer in the Persian Gulf with no explanation as to what it was. It appeared to be a very severe rainstorm, one of the worst I'd ever seen, and I could only make out parts of the ship. I asked her about the "rainstorm" and she replied, "Believe it or not, that isn't rain. It's a sandstorm."
But the dust storm here last year was different from any of those sandstorms. The dirt in the air was scattered, a great cloud of fine, black particles that left our vision of the world a gray haze. Most people who’ve spent their lives in the north-central Texas have never witnessed a sandstorm or dust storm. Imagine the wonder when they stepped outside to find they could look directly at the sun and there was no glare. In fact, my oldest daughter and her stepdaughter argued whether it was the sun or the moon they were seeing as they’d never witnessed anything like that. It was a fuzzy orange blur curtained by the dust.
There was a great cloud, a haze of tiny, dust-like particles as far as the eye could see and it created a screen for the sunlight. It was a sky-wide blanket of black dirt! However, we’d all have done well to wear sunglasses regardless of the lack of bright sunlight. I was caught downtown when the event transpired and joined many who walked around outdoors rubbing fine grains out of their eyes. It didn’t do much for our sinuses either.
I washed my hair and clothes that night. Amazing how dirty they were. There were practically mud puddles in my washer and bathtub. Seemed all the world and everything in it was dirty.
Driving home the next morning, after giving my daughter a ride to work, I was thinking about the sandstorm I witnessed as a child and that wonder of a dust storm we experienced the day before. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave me some other dirty thoughts to contemplate and a revelation about Abraham’s many children.
The Lord swore to multiply Abraham’s children as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore. (Genesis 22) God’s promise to Abraham is more children than we can even begin to fathom. From an airplane thousands of feet in the air, there’s still no possible way to see all the seashores over the earth. Perhaps from a spacecraft you could see the outline of all the seashores on a couple of small continents. If you can even begin to grasp the amount of grains of sand as a whole on the earth’s seashores, then can you imagine how many individual grains that entails?
But God went beyond promising him as many children as the sands on the seashores. Have you ever attempted to count the stars? The view of the night sky from that same spacecraft would not give us a small glimpse of the stars in this universe God set in motion! The “heavens” extend far beyond what we know as this universe. The stars of the heavens are innumerable. And yet, God not only has them counted, He has a name for every one of them. (Psalm 147:4) How then might God feel about the children of Abraham?
And it seems to me that there is even more dust on the earth than there is sand upon the seashores. Yet, Genesis 13:16 says, “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”
Just as the Word of God says, Abraham’s children are innumerable. So my question is this: Am I the only one who sees more lost than saved? And why are those of us who know ourselves to be children of Father Abraham not running out into the world to retrieve his lost children? Who among us would dare to ask “Am I my brother’s keeper?” or refuse to be obedient when we are certain of the will of God? He calls out for those who will to enter into the labor of the harvest. That, then, is a very important part of His will for us. Someday, we will share the heavens with those children of Abraham who are lost today. What will they say of me? Will they say they were hungry and I gave them no bread?
Because the dust of the earth, the sand of the seashores, and the stars of the heavens can no man rightly number, it is an innumerable number of people that wait upon someone, anyone, to gather them together and bring Light into the haze. Standing as one, the children of God are solid and strong. But scattered abroad, the lost children of Abraham tend to block out the Light of the Son, much the way that dust storm blocked out the light of the sun. We rub our irritated eyes, tired of facing the facts, when the planks in them are often larger than the specks in our brothers’ and sisters’ eyes. My friends, let YOUR let so shine before men.
Father God, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Almighty and Living God, You alone cause our seeds to grow. Some of us plant and some of us water. But we rely on You to teach us to shine and not let our lights grow dim. Let the oil in our lamps never run dry. Our seeds need that light to grow. But that light only comes from You. Gift us, Father, with great shining candles in our hearts and with Your Words upon our lips. Strengthen us for the harvest for Your Namesake. Perform Your Word today according to Your promise to gather Your children from the uttermost regions, that You will bring them in on the winds of the north, the south, the east and the west. Then equip us, oh Lord, to love them and nurture them as You alone cause them to grow. Father, in Jesus’ Name I pray, send workers into the harvest. Amen.
© Joyce Pool
Quotes from ‘Leaves of Gold’:
HAPPINESS is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray; nay, when it strikes a kindred heart, like the converged light upon a mirror, it reflects itself with redoubled brightness. -- It is not perfected till it is shared.
~ Jane Porter
‘Tis sweet to hear “I love you”
Beneath a giggling moon;
‘Tis fun to hear “You dance well”
To a lilting, swinging tune;
‘Tis great to be proposed to
And whisper low, “I do;”
But the sweetest words in all the world,
“I’ve got a job for you.”
~ Margaret Deeney
DEEDS REMAIN -- Life passes; work is permanent. It is all going -- fleeting and withering. Youth goes. Mind decays. That which is done remains. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for God, that, and only that, you are. Deeds never die.
~ F. W. Robertson
WHISPERS -- There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us wellnigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
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